Public Works and Environmental Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative offices are open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mon - Fri
703-324-1770 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Parkway
Suite 518, Fairfax, Va 22035
Brian Keightley
Division Director, Urban Forest Management

Tree Preservation and Planting Awards

The Tree Preservation and Planting awards have been combined with the Friends of Trees Awards. Historical information about past winners can be found below.

The Land and Tree Conservation Awards program was established in the early 1970s to provide an incentive for developers to reduce erosion at their construction sites and to publicly recognize erosion and sedimentation plans that are correctly implemented and maintained. The annual recognition ceremony was for years sponsored by the Department of Land Development Services and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, in cooperation with the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. Learn more about the history and background of Land and Tree Conservation Awards.

The now combined Friends of Trees Awards establishes a specific category for the development community that highlights excellence in either tree preservation and tree planting projects or both. This is a fitting culmination of the county’s long tradition of celebrating successes for our urban forest.

Past Award Winners

Taylor Beach

Taylor Beach is the executive director of Fairfax ReLeaf. Fairfax ReLeaf, an independent, non-profit organization of volunteers who plant and preserve trees, improve community appearance, and restore habitat on public and common land in Northern Virginia. Fairfax ReLeaf also serves as a practical laboratory for assessing techniques to lessen the impact of development. Since she came to the helm, Taylor alongside many eager volunteers, has planted over 75,000 tree seedlings, maintained previously planted trees, removed invasive plants, and educated the greater public.

Under her direction every year, Fairfax ReLeaf averages 800 volunteers, totaling at least 2,000 volunteer hours. That is an incredible accomplishment!

When the Waples Mill Elementary School Science, Technology, Art, Music, and Philanthropy committee (known as STAMP) decided to plant native trees as a community service project, Taylor transformed children of all ages, abilities, languages, and experiences and their parents into tree planters. Many had never planted a tree or dug a hole in the ground with a shovel. Everyone left the session full of pride in their accomplishment of planting close to one hundred trees.

Taylor has provided tree seedlings and organized sessions for Cub Scout packs and Girl Scout troops. She has mastered the ability to capture the attention of children as she teaches them the importance of trees, and the damage done by invasive plants. Taylor is highly committed to tree conservation and environmental best practices. She is knowledgeable, helpful, and patient. She has done an outstanding job in expanding the tree canopy in Fairfax County.

Will Friedman

Since 2017, Will Friedman has consistently focused his efforts on tree planting and preservation projects.

He saw the need for trees at his school, Carl Sandberg Middle School. In 2019, with help from his teacher, he applied for and was awarded the Fairfax County’s Tree Preservation and Planting Fund. He organized classmates and community volunteers to plant 12 large shade trees at the school. Will went on to launch an effort to plant trees at 20 additional Fairfax County Public Schools.

Will’s efforts to support trees were not stopped by the pandemic. Far from it. He helped Arcadia Food plant 72 fruit trees that will provide food for their Mobile Market that visits food deserts in our area. Will also utilized Weed Warrior training to save trees in his neighborhood from non-native invasive vines. To inspire others, Will and his mother produced a video of how easy invasive vine removal is on their Nextdoor neighborhood social media site.

Will also delivered public testimony at a Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors Public Hearing defending a remarkably large swamp chestnut oak from destruction by the construction of a transportation corridor at Huntley Meadows Park. His testimony helped convince the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to protect the tree and remove the proposed conceptual trails from the County’s plans.

Monica Perz-Wadington

Master Naturalist, Monica Perz-Wadington, was the organizer behind a series of tree plantings at schools in Lee District. She achieved the buy-in of teachers and principals to organize tree plantings in collaboration with Fairfax County Urban Forest Management and Fairfax County public School administration.

The students enjoyed getting their hands dirty while learning how to plant and care for the trees. Through this opportunity they learned how they can become stewards of trees and our environment.

Ms. Perz-Wadington was engaged with the students and even performed a song she wrote with her guitar for each occasion. She demonstrated environmental action through education and planting. Her initiative will impact generations to come.

George Mason University – Engineers for International Development (EfID)

In the spring and fall of 2020, Urban Forest Management Division collaborated with George Mason University Engineers for International Development (EfID) for several tree planting projects across the County including: Fairfax County Government Center, Lakeside Park, Bull Run Elementary School, and Mason District Government Center.

Their role at the Bull Run Elementary School planting was integral since they were able to help when students were not able to participate due to the pandemic.

Thank you to the hardworking team of EFID and President Caleb Hanneman for your dedication and environmental stewardship.

Fairfax County Public Schools

In the spring and fall of 2020, Urban Forest Management Division collaborated with Fairfax County Public Schools. At Crestwood Elementary, children planted several trees on a hillside to help with erosion and provide shade to classrooms.

During a tree planting event at Forestdale elementary, children learned how important proper mulching is to help support new trees.

At Lynbrook Elementary, staff and students dug deep to make a perfect home of these saplings.

Teamwork at Westlawn Elementary helped to find a perfect home for this tree. Thank you to all the Fairfax County elementary school children for your contribution to increasing Fairfax County’s tree canopy!

Hickory Farms Community Association

Nestled in central Fairfax County, Hickory Farms Community Association maintains over 15 acres of urban forest and five acres of urban open space to benefit the community and other Fairfax County residents. There are multiple forested areas within the community that is maintained and improved through the hard work of the community members with the active support of the Hickory Farms Community Association Board of Directors.

Commencing in 2017, the HFCA board approved funds to hire a company that provides low-impact land clearing, bush hogging, and land management services. In Bamboo Grove (Upper Commons), after efforts to removing 3/4 acres of bamboo - native tree species (e.g., Virginia Cedar, Redbud, Tulip Poplar) have begun to grow in this area. Leading to nearly an acre of new native trees and flowering plants after management.

Upper commons “main island” was similarly cleared of invasive vines, vine-damaged trees, and non-native ground cover, and a small native-plant perennial garden was started. In 2018 and 2019, additional native plants were added by community volunteers.

The American Boxwoods in this location are perhaps 100 years old and stood next to the Gilbertson house that was on the property when it was purchased in 1972 to create Hickory Farms. Vines were beginning to cover the boxwoods and climb up the cedars' trunks. After removal of invasive plants, the area now is thriving with access to more sunlight and less competition.

After numerous removals of tree of heaven, vines and other invasives were removed from area many mature trees are thriving. Native plantings were done in the lower commons along with an Eagle Scout project to install a bench.

2021 Friends of Trees Award Ceremony

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